Crouch appointed to human trafficking study commission
Morgan City Police Chief Travis Crouch
Morgan City Police Chief Travis Crouch is working with state legislators and other government officials as a member of the Joint Human Trafficking Study Commission to pass legislation to address the state’s human trafficking problems
The Joint Human Trafficking Study Commission was created during the state’s 2013 legislative regular session to study issues related to human trafficking in Louisiana. Crouch was appointed to the commission several months ago by the Louisiana Chiefs of Police Association.
He went to the State Capitol in Baton Rouge Nov. 13 for a commission meeting to discuss legislation the commission is preparing for the upcoming 2014 state legislative session. The legislation involves training law enforcement officers about what to look for to uncover human trafficking as far as conducting traffic stops, search warrants, and getting information from citizens, Crouch said. The commission will have another meeting Dec. 3 to discuss the legislation.
Human trafficking is “one of those things that’s big in other places, but we know it’s happening everywhere,” Crouch said. In addition to trying to eradicate the sex trade of children, the commission also aims to help children who work for no pay, he said.
The commission is looking to provide training for officers possibly through webinars outside of just having a website that provides information. “We’re trying to work it out right now what’s feasible because some small agencies just can’t afford to send some people to training,” Crouch said.
Something has to be done to provide that training, but officials are trying to do so in a way that costs the least amount possible for law enforcement agencies due to their budget limitations, he said.
Nearly everywhere, including rural communities, experiences human trafficking. With the increasing number of people being brought into the U.S. from other countries with the promise of work, human trafficking is becoming a bigger problem in the U.S., Crouch said.
Senate Bill 88 passed in the 2013 Regular Session provides for children who are victims of sex trafficking and provides restitution to those victims, a civil cause of action for human trafficking victims, and a safe harbor program for sexually exploited children among other provisions.
The Joint Human Trafficking Study Commission is composed of 17 members including three members of the state senate, three members of the house, the executive director of the Louisiana Human Trafficking Task Force, a sheriff, a district attorney, a juvenile court judge, a district court judge, a public defender, a person with expertise in advocacy for children who are sexually exploited, a person with expertise in advocacy for adult victims of human trafficking, the Orleans Parish District Attorney, East Baton Rouge Parish District Attorney, and Crouch.